What is a proceedings on the merits?
A proceedings on the merits is a term that is not often used. More common is to speak of a lawsuit. A proceedings on the merits is actually the normal legal procedure in civil cases, where a final judgment is requested from the judge. This is in contrast to summary proceedings, in which a preliminary judgment is requested. A proceedings on the merits begins with a summons or application. These documents must list the facts that support the plaintiff’s claims. It ends with the claim or request and states what the claimant or applicant in the proceedings wants.
How does a proceedings on the merits work?
The proceedings on the merits starts with a summons or statement of defence. The defendant may then respond in writing by means of a so-called conclusion of reply or statement of defense. The defendant can also file a counter-claim. After the written rounds, a hearing will often be determined. During the hearing the judge can (logically) request further information and try to achieve a settlement.
A settlement in proceedings on the merits
At the end of the hearing, the question is often asked: what next? It may be that the court does not yet consider itself sufficiently informed and gives the parties the opportunity to take another written document, either a conclusion (an extensive written document) or a deed. If a second written round takes place, these are called a reply and rejoinder.
But often there can also be arranged a settlement during the hearing or written procedure. In some cases, the judge helps with this, for example by expressing their views on the case. If appropriate, the court may be asked to assist in documenting the settlement.